In jazz circles Sonny Greenwich is a legend. His name is known around the world and he is admired for his highly personal style. He is a demanding performer totally dedicated to his art and uncompromising in his standards.

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Greenwich called Toronto home until 1966, when he moved to Quebec.

This world renowned jazz guitarist has played in major Canadian and American cities including a concert at Carnegie Hall and with such greats as Miles Davis, Charles Lloyd, Wayne Shorter, Pharoah Sanders, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, saxophonist John Handy and Sun-Ra.

Some critics regard Sonny Greenwich as the most important Canadian jazz artist (states New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, New York 1988). His prominence has him written up in - the Canadian Encyclopedia; Jazz in Canada (fourteen lives) by Mark Miller -1982, Who's Who of Jazz in Montreal by John Gilmore - 1989, Jazz Lives: 100 Portraits in Jazz by Gene Lees -1992.

Greenwich first drew notice for his jazz style in 1959 at the Musicians Incorporated Club in Toronto. 1965 saw him in New York at the Village Vanguard with saxophonist Charles Lloyd. His reputation brought him to the attention of saxophonist John Handy, with whom he played from December 1966 through March of 1967, in Seattle, San Francisco and New York. The concert appearance at Carnegie Hall, January 15th 1967 was released on Columbia's "Spirituals to Swing". Also in New York that year, he recorded on tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley's album "Third Season" for the Blue Notes label.

In 1968 he led his own quartet composed of pianist Teddy Saunders, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Jack DeJohnette, at the Village Vanguard in New York City. December of 1969 he played with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Dave Holland and Tony Williams at the Colonial Tavern in Toronto, and the following year played as an opening act for Miles at Massey Hall in Toronto. That same year he recorded his first album for the CBC ,
The Old Man and the Child". He recorded his second album, "Sun Song" in 1974 with Don Thompson, Rick Homme, Terry Clarke and Clayton Johnson. Then in 1978 the album "Evol-ution, Love's Reverse" was recorded live at Yellowfingers club in Toronto with Don Thompson, Gene Perla and Claude Ranger for the PM label.

From 1983 through 1988 he led his own quartet, Fred Henke, Ron Seguin and Andre White, performed at jazz festivals and in clubs in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and New York as well as recording two albums. The first "Bird of Paradise" was released in 1987 and the second "Live at Sweet Basil" released in 1988, was recorded during a performance at the Greenwich Village Jazz Festival in New York City.

In late 1991 through 1993 Sonny decided to spend more time on composition. In this vein he put together a quintet and sextet, featuring saxophone and trumpet, and a nine-piece band, with added trombone and percussion, for a series of productions for CBC's "Jazzbeat" show.These productions have been released on a CD entitled "Standard Idioms.

He has performed in the 1992 jazz festivals in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, and in 1993 participated with Kenny Wheeler and Don Thompson at the Toronto jazz festival as well as appearances at the Montreal festival leading his own nine piece band. He was a featured artist at the 1997 jazz festival in Toronto.

On his music, Sonny states, "I play a wide range, from ballads to very fiery, very free pieces. It's like an ocean - you have to have the two things, the storm and the calm that comes after, and the one thing helps the other express itself. It's music that has a spiritual basis to it, which is trying to make people feel good. Not some kind of preaching but a feeling of beauty I have, that I express so that someone else can feel it - trying to uplift them somehow".

He has received the following awards for his work:

05/97 - recipient of the Electric Jazz Group of the Year (1997) Award at the Jazz Report Awards, Toronto.

03/97 - Greenwich's album 'Spirit in the Air' was nominated for a JUNO - Best Contemporary Jazz Album category.

04/96 - Greenwich was the recipient, for the fourth consecutive year, of the Guitarist of the Year (1996) Award at the Jazz Report Awards, Toronto.

09/95 - the Paul Bley/Sonny Greenwich album 'Outside In' was nominated for a FELIX at the Gala de l'ADISQ, Montreal - Jazz Album of the Year category.

04/95 - Greenwich was the recipient of the prestigious Jazz Musician of the Year (1995) Award in addition to the Guitarist of the Year (1995) Award at the Jazz Report Awards, Toronto.

02/95 - Greenwich's album 'Hymn to the Earth' was nominated for a JUNO - Best Contemporary Jazz Album category.

01/95 - Greenwich's composition 'The Nightingale' from his CD 'Hymn to the Earth', was selected by the Canada Council as part of its commemorative United Nations 50th Anniversary (four) CD set entitled 'Here and Now'.

08/94 - Greenwich's album 'Standard Idioms' was nominated for a FELIX, at the Montreal Gala de l'ADISQ - Jazz Album of the Year category.

05/94 - Greenwich was the recipient of the Guitarist of the Year (1994) Award at the Jazz Report Awards, Toronto.

03/94 - Greenwich's album 'Standard Idioms' was nominated for a JUNO - Best Mainstream Jazz Album category.

05/93 - Greenwich received the Guitarist of the Year (1993) Award, at the Jazz Report Awards, Toronto.

09/89 - he was presented with the Performing Rights Organization of Canada Award for Excellence in Canadian Music for Achievements in Composing Jazz Music.

l989 - his album 'Live at Sweet Basil' was nominated for a FELIX, at the Montreal Gala de l'ADISQ - Jazz Album of the Year category.

1982 - he was the recipient of the Canadian Music Council: Best Jazz Broadcast Award, for a program done for CJRT - Sound of Toronto Jazz.

1981 - he was recognized as a Member of the Hall of Fame at the Canadian Black Music Awards in Toronto.

Spirituals to Swing Columbia G-30776
Third Season Blue Note LT-1081
Soft and Groovy CBC LM 40/Capitol SN 62905
Jazzzzz CBC RCI 288/Barclay 80086
Love Song for a Virgo Lady CBC RCI 302/Sackville C 2002
The Old Man and the Child CBC RCI 303/Sackville C 2003
Sun Song: The Music of Sonny Greenwich CBC RCI 399
Solar Explorations (with Moe Koffman) GRT 9230-1050
Evol-ution, Love's Reverse PM PMR-016
Bird of Paradise Justin Time 22-2
Live at Sweet Basil Justin Time 26-2
Standard Idioms Kleo 1-CD
Hymn to the Earth Kleo 2-CD
Spirit in the Air Kleo 3-CD


Katherine-Klassen Greenwich

(514) 424-0022

E-mail [email protected]